books

C.S. Graham

See also C.S. Harris

Books

The Archangel Project (2008), The Solomon Effect (2009), The Babylonian Codex (2010)

 

 

The Archangel Project (2008)

The-Archangel-ProjectI love the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries by C.S. Harris. So when I realized the husband and wife team also wrote under the name C.S. Graham, I immediately ordered the books.

Now the books written as C.S. Harris are set in Victorian/Regency England. These books are modern thrillers.

October Guinness is a Navy Vet who got a psych discharge after an incident in Iraqwhere she somehow knew that an attack was going to target innocent civilians, and she got herself shot in the process. Back in the states she’s going to college, and to pay her bills, has gotten herself involved in something called “remote viewing.” Little does she realize this seemingly innocent project is going to turn deadly.

First things first, there is a lot of politics in this book. The president is a very thinly veiled GW Bush, and let’s just say that the authors have a more negative view of him that I do, if that’s even possible.

Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, I sat down yesterday evening to read a couple chapters and see what I thought.

At 10:30. I forced myself to put the book down, even though I was more than 3/4 finished, because I really needed to go to get ready for bed. The story took off, and never slowed down.

The author’s note(s) point out that the remote viewing projects such as were described in the book were in fact used at one time by the military, and the author’s recommend the book “Men Who Stare at Goats” which you may remember came out as a movie last year. They also point out that several other of the perhaps more unbelievable points in the book are also based upon fact.

Which makes the book both more entertaining and also infinitely more disturbing.

Aside from the story, the characters were also very well done. We learn a fair amount about Toby’s past, and dribs and drabs of Jax’s past, but far more is left unsaid than is explained, especially regarding many of the secondary characters.

If you’re looking for action and mystery, then I highly recommend The Archangel Project.

Just don’t start reading it on a work night.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Harper

Re-Read: June 2014

October ‘Toby’ Guinness is an Army vet who was washed out with a psychiatric discharge after an incident in Iraq.

“You didn’t want to go to Iraq?” said the Colonel.

“Are you kidding? The only people who actually want to go to Iraq are either seriously delusional or very, very scary individuals.”

Jax Alexander is a CIA operative who has been sent to Section 13 because the head of the CIA hates him and is looking for a reason to get rid of him.

Jax flashed the man a friendly smile and held up an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms badge. The badge looked real because it was—just like the ones from the FBI and the Office of Homeland Security, and the press corps card Jax also carried. He even had an IRS ID he used when he really wanted to scare people.

Together, THEY FIGHT CRIME!

Yeah, that never gets old for me. Sorry. (No, I’m not.)

To help pay for her school bills, Toby started working with Henry Youngblood, who has been struggling to fund his Remote Viewing project.

If you think Remote Viewing sounds familiar, it’s because you remember the book/move “Men Who Stare at Goats.” This was a real project, funded by our government–and other governments–before it became completely discredited (for a variety of reasons [some of which were very good reasons]).

Toby is actually a very good Remote Viewer, which is a problem, because she’s seen something she should not have, and upset people who have the ability to Do Something about her.

This is a very interesting book, first and foremost because it’s based on real projects. It was co-written by Steven Harris (a former Army Intelligence officer) and Candice Proctor (aka C.S. Harris), and they have strong opinions both about private companies involved with the military…

“The FBI gets some ex–Special Forces people, but not many these days. They can make too much money working for outfits like Blackwater. Our government trains them, then they go work for private security companies who rent them back to the taxpayers for ten times what they’d cost if they’d stayed in the military.”

…and the state of their home, New Orleans.

“Now? You want to go to the Lower Ninth Ward now? At nine-thirty at night? Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what it’s like down there?”

The politics is pretty heavy, which is possibly why this series seems to have ended after three books. Which is too bad, because I quite like Toby and Jax.
Rating: 8/10

Published by HarperCollins

The Solomon Effect (2009)

I picked up both The Archangel Project and The Solomon Effect after discovering they were written by the same couple who write the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries as C.S. Harris. After reading the first book, The Archangel Project, I held off on reading The Solomon Effect, since there are not currently any more books in the series.

Set about four months after the events in The Archangel Project, Tobie is called in to do a remote viewing after a WWII submarine is discovered missing. When she “discovers” the missing sub may be in Kalingrad, Jax (who remains on the DCI’s shitlist) is sent to check the site out. And against his wishes, Tobie, who was a linguist for the Army before her psych discharge, goes with him.

Like the first book, the story deals with remote viewing–a procedure that was once used by the military (and in this series, still is to a very very very small degree). However, the heart of the story is discovering the submarine, and precisely what its cargo had been and why someone wants to get their hands on it.

Even more unfortunately, the someone attempting to get their hands on the contents of the submarine seems to be connected to a terrorist threat that is supposed to go off on Halloween–just a few days away.

Also like the first book, there is plenty of action, and although the main characters are a man and a woman, and Jax doesn’t believe in what Tobie does and thinks she’s a flake, we’re spared the “sexual tension” that most authors would write into the story.

Thank goodness.

Also like the first book, much of the source material is sourced, just going to show that the truth truly is often stranger than fiction.
Rating: 9/10

I highly recommend The Solomon Effect, as well as its predecessor, The Archangel Effect.

The Babylonian Codex (2010)

I found this book quite frightening, not because it was particularly suspenseful, but because the political scenario described so very well could come true.

Toby is asked to do a remote viewing to see if she can discover where some of the artifacts stolen during the looting at the start of the Iraq war were taken. Unfortunately, not only is she discovering where these artifacts may be, she accidentally stumbles upon an owner with a great deal of power–and a nasty plot.

There is a new president, a reformer, but the old guard, the conservatives, and most especially the religious right wingers can’t stand him, and have all but declared him Satan incarnate.

Because these reactions are so close to what current conservatives are having, and because so much of this story is based upon history and fact and existing groups (there’s a quick resource guide in the back), I find it quite frightening. Especially the Dominionist Movement.

If you enjoyed the first two books in this series, I recommend this book. If you didn’t read the first two books, you might want to become familiar with remote viewing before starting this book, as well as the history of the US Remote Viewing program.

Then you can read this and spend your time being freaked out by the story.
Rating: 7/10

Published by Harper Collins

 

 

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